Starting off 2021 – this month’s country is Israel! (I guess the random number generator likes blue striped flags!)
So, what do I know about Israel?
Well, I have a functional base knowledge of Judaism (for someone who isn’t Jewish) – I at least know my shabbos from my seders. I also know enough that there are radically differing opinions in the Jewish diaspora over feelings and loyalty towards Israel as a modern state vs. their home country. However, I don’t think I’ve had much of a chance to encounter a lot of Israeli views specifically.
I do know a bit already on the history of the establishment of Israel and the wars with its Arab neighbours, but I might want to look more into how those wars have become part of Israel’s identity. As for the Palestinian conflict, I’ve heard very extreme opinions on both sides, and may want to find something more reasoned – though I may save most of that for the month I do on Palestine, as it’s on my list as a UN observer state.
As for Israeli popular culture, I know very very little. I’m very interested in the food – my sense is Israeli cuisine is a mix of middle eastern cuisine and dishes brought by the various waves of Jewish immigration from around the world in the last century, and I can’t wait to see what that brings!